“YES, I’m ready!” Well that’s what I expect most actors to say, whether they actually are or not.
When I worked at the agency, since we were a mid-sized office, we all picked up the incoming calls as we didn’t have a receptionist. It never ceased to amaze me that at least 50% of these daily calls were from actors seeking representation WHO HAD NO EXPERIENCE OR TRAINING AND NO MARKETING MATERIALS WHATSOEVER! Mind blowing.
They would tell me “I’m talented and I’m looking for an agent”, meaning the thought process was that what they bring to the relationship is the talent and the agent does everything else. Now if you’ve been reading my posts thus far, I know that YOU know differently. But how differently? Are you really ready for representation or do you just think you are because you’re talented?
Remember in one of my previous blogs where I spoke about what I looked for in an actor when evaluating them for possible representation? Marketability? Well here is what I mean by that. On top of talent, in order to be represented you must have:
Experience on Your Resume – this is a list (more than one credit) of actual work that you have done. As in “been cast or hired” to perform and not simply starred in your own show or webisode or one person show – for free. Yes, that kind of work is good too, but can’t be the only kind of work on your resume. The old “catch 22” of not having an agent “so how can you get work?”, doesn’t apply anymore. With internet self-submission platforms, networking, social media pages/groups and more, getting your own work is easier than ever.
Training and/or Formal Education – This is in addition to your experience, not instead of it. If you’re just out of acting class, a conservatory, or even a graduate of a 4-year program or MFA, it’s a misnomer that you’re ready for an agent or manager as evidenced by the plethora of school ending showcases with very few offers to graduates. Being trained is part of the process of becoming a gifted and talented actor, but that doesn’t mean with training alone you are ready for representation.
Stellar and Up to Date Marketing Materials – Today this means all of your on-line profiles with which a representative will be using to submit you must be “tricked out” with everything at your disposal to help them to get you in the door of casting offices. It’s no longer good enough to submit for representation with a headshot and resume. You need media (video, audio clips in addition to full demos), various and many headshots, your resume in an order so that your credits speak quickly as to what your area of focus is and more.
A Business Mindset and Industry Knowledge – An agent respects you as a person even more and will be more inclined to work with you when you have taken your time to learn about your industry. Knowing the names of casting directors, shows, production companies, directors, what’s trending in the industry and other easily accessible information is essential. The “me” mentality of most actors seeking representation is a very narrow point of view and unfortunately too many actors have it. This is the biggest pet peeve of almost every representative I know as they desire a true partnership with their talent. Taking time to educate yourself in the business of show isn’t only a good idea, it’s what will get you an agent much sooner.
If you’re lacking one or more of the above, then in my not-so-humble opinion you are not ready for representation. But inside this realization there are clues as to what steps to take in order to be ready.
If you do have all of the above or are well on your way, then my next post will explore your first steps in seeking an agent or manager. Stay tuned.
By the way, feel free to share where you’re at today. Just starting out? Back after an absence? Been at it for a while and still looking for the right fit? I’d love to hear from you!